Hawks Cay Island Resort in a Nutshell:
This romantic resort reflects all that is good, and there is much good, in the Florida Keys. Located on 60-acre Duck Key, half way between Key Largo and Key West, it has so much to offer that there is really no reason at all to leave this beautiful enclave. If The Keys are the laid-back capital of the world, then Hawks Cay is the place to languish in understated luxury that will make you want to return for many anniversaries to come. This is not a cookie-cutter, big-chain resort. It is singly owned and because of this it is a unique and beautiful jewel set in the exotic necklace that is the Florida Keys.
The resort features 177 guest rooms and suites, plus 225 two- and three-bedroom villas, decorated in a West Indies/Caribbean style. Local artwork and photography are used to adorn the walls of guest rooms and public spaces. Bathrooms have granite counter tops, large showers and offer Tommy Bahama amenities. Rooms and suites include balconies or patios that overlook either the water or beautifully landscaped gardens and pools. There is an adults-only section with its own pool, just in case you might not want the pitter-patter of little feet interrupting your stay.
Spectacular sunsets are offered free of charge.
The seafood lover in you will rejoice when you tuck into the freshest fish and seafood imaginable. The resort’s romantic and upscale restaurant, Alma, serves delectable Caribbean and Latin dishes inside or by candlelight out on the veranda. The more casual, open-air Beach Grill is open for lunch and drinks, featuring frozen rum drinks and lighter fare. There’s also a large flatscreen TV over the bar so you can keep up with your favorite team. Tom’s Harbor House overlooking the resort’s marina is the place to go for a Florida Keys-style menu offering fresh caught snapper, Key West pink shrimp and conch fritters and happy hour prices from 4-6 pm.
Next door is Emack & Bolio’s, which serves some of the tastiest ice cream creations in the Keys including Cosmic Crunch, a vanilla ice cream with caramel swirl, chocolate chips, walnuts, and cookies. In-room dining is also available, 24/7.
The resort’s wedding planners are busy year round making sure that each couple will have a unique wedding to treasure. All weddings are tailored to the individual requests of each bride and groom. Couples can be married in a lovely gazebo, poolside or on a beautiful lawn overlooking Tom’s Harbor. Destination weddings usually number 20-30 guests here and the resort will do everything possible to coordinate arrivals, accommodations, receptions and the ceremony itself.
The Key to Romance package includes a water-view or premium-lanai guestroom, in-room sparkling wine delivered on the night of arrival, one half-day bike rental for two, daily breakfast for two and 20 percent off a couples massage at Calm Waters Spa.
Hawks Cay contains five pools and a private lagoon with its own beach that is built out into the tropical waters that surround Duck Key. And, if you’re the types who love to swim with dolphins, several of those mammals live and perform at the Dolphin Connection on property. One of them accidentally swam through a hole in the fence a few years ago and swam back and forth, begging to get back in. Whew!
The resort also has its own soothing spa that offers a full menu of treatments including romantic couples massages using organic aroma therapeutic oils. Once the treatment is complete, couples can continue to melt away stress in the spa’s relaxation area and tropical rain room. There are lighted tennis courts, snorkeling and kite boarding in and around the resort to tempt you out of your relaxed state. Travel tip: a photo of you with the dolphins could be used as your first holiday card.
What to See and Do Nearby Hawks Cay:
The main activities spoking out from the resort are all about being on or in the waters that surround Duck Key. Romantic sunset cruises, diving expeditions and world-class fishing are among the most popular ways to enjoy the turquoise waters of the Atlantic and Gulf. You’ll probably want to rent a car so you can cruise up and down the Florida Keys Scenic Highway, the 106-mile magical road that connects the Florida mainland with Key West and all the other Keys in-between. Famed watering holes are fun places to sip a margarita and mingle with the locals and fellow visitors.
If you like seashells — and who doesn’t? — stop at Shell World in Key Largo on the way to the resort.
Is Hawks Cay Right for You?
Duck Key is an enclave unto itself. So be prepared to be content with staying in a place that is not adjacent to wild nightspots, restaurants and the like, unless you feel like running up and down the highway for nocturnal adventures. The resort is not all-inclusive so figure on paying big-city prices for meals and drinks.
Guests come here year after year to relax in laid-back Florida Keys luxury and, when the mood strikes, rev it up via the extensive water sports activities around Duck Key. Adults can seek solitude in their own adults-only pool area while families romp in pools and areas designed for them. The resort has added a new Tiki bar near the main pool and fire pit, so guests can relax with a cocktail poolside during the day or fire side under the stars. The Sand Bar is an adults-only area ideal for couples looking to enjoy a quite lunch or drink waterside.
Casual clothes rule in the daytime and pretty resort wear comes out at night in the resort’s signature restaurant, Alma.
Review by Clint Brownfield.
Info and Reservations:
61 Hawks Cay Boulevard
Duck Key, FL 33050
The resort is about a one and one-half hour drive from Miami.